| When Money Isn't Enough |
By Barbara Steinberg Smalley and Connie Glaser
Genre: Business & Money
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A Time of Reckoning
Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.
Anne De Lenclos
Quick! Define what success means to you. A prestigious job title? An impressive salary? A corner office with a view? Power and perks?
Traditionally, these have been the yardsticks used to measure one's success. But as we stand on the threshold of the twenty-first century, the nature and meaning of work are undergoing a profound revolutionparticularly for women. Indeed, a burgeoning number of women appear to be finding themselves at an emotionaland even spiritualcrossroads.
Caroline is one such woman. Forty-five years old and an executive vice president at a Fortune 100 company, she appears to have it all: an elegant home, a successful husband, two beautiful children, a live-in nanny, a fancy car, and a fat bank account. Yet, despite these outward trappings of success, Caroline feels hollow inside and dangerously out of balance.
"My entire life is work," she admits. "In my quest for success, I have neglected family and friends, and when I look at who I've become, I don't particularly like what I see. All of my hard work and the tangible rewards it's brought me have not given me the joy and peace of mind I thought they would. Sure, on the outside, I appear successful. But I keep wondering, "Is this all there is?'"
Caroline, we have discovered in our research, is far from alone. Despite their stunning achievements, scores of successful women like her report feeling the same: empty, disillusioned, and unfulfilled.
PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST GIVES UP NEWSPAPER CAREER . . . MICROSOFT'S HIGHEST RANKING WOMAN RESIGNS . . . FIRST FEMALE TO HEAD UP FDIC STEPS DOWN . . . PEPSI PRESIDENT CALLS IT QUITS.
What gives? In the '80s, women bought into the traditional notion of success: the prestigious job title and six-figure income. But now many are discovering that they want much more than the bottom line provides. They resent being married to their jobs. Instead of doing more and more and enjoying it less and less, they seek lives that are more multidimensional. They long for sufficient quality time to devote to family, friends, community, and other outside interests, as well as time for solitude and self-reflection to balance how much of themselves they typically give away. They yearn to feel that who they are and what they do matters. They want the workplace to be more than a place to earn their daily bread. In essence, money is not enough.
"Women are discovering that work isn't enough," confirms Los Angeles organizational psychologist Anna Graham, Ph.D. "They're also realizing that when you make work the center of your universe, you lose diversity in your life and end up not only feeling out of touch with the rest of the world, but out of touch with yourself."
Women who are consumed by the demands of work also risk losing their sense of purpose. "And purpose is not only what you do; it is who you are," Graham adds. "Regardless of your choice of career paths, it is purposenot salary or recognitionthat gives your work meaning. And sooner or later, an absence of meaning is not only frustrating, but robs your life of zest and joy."
Clearly, this is a time of reckoning for working women, and that, in a nutshell, is the focus of this book. For years, far too many womengrateful and even flattered by opportunities to climb the corporate ladderhave taken whatever was offered to them without pausing to consider their own needs. They have followed the advice of mentors rather than listening to their own hearts and playing to their own strengths. So busy trying to prove themselves, many have lost sight of their own values, as well as control of their own lives. And in the process of constantly trying to meet others' expectations, these women have let others define their own destinies.
But no longer.
This book, through a series of thought-provoking and inspirational stories, will show you how growing numbers of women are beginning to redefine success in a variety of ways.
For example, some, whose careers have advanced far beyond their wildest dreamsbut who have also paid a high price for success in terms of personal sacrificehave decided to put the brakes on and exit the rat race. Others have opted to step off the promotion pathat least temporarilyto regain their footing and sense of equilibrium. Many have elected to move down the ladder a notch or two and replace their exhausting and all-consuming careers with positions offering less pressure, lower visibility, and greater personal satisfaction. And while some of these women have struggled a bit financially as a result, few have any regrets.
Of course, not all women are leaving or changing their jobs. Instead, they are changing themselves. No longer willing to postpone happiness, they are taking deliberate steps to sort out and separate what's really important to them in life from all the glitz and glitter.
Many women we spoke with suffered from boredomnot burnoutand have decided to look elsewhere for jobs that offer meaning and purpose, or have turned to community work to fill the void. In their quest for success, staggering numbers of women we interviewed have launched their own businesses. And the most common reason they cited for venturing out on their own? Controlof their time, their futures, and their financial destinies. Surprisingly few, however, seem exclusively motivated by money. In fact, scores of female entrepreneurs we spoke with have found ways to integrate profits and meaning.
Naturally, many of today's working women who are redefining success cut their teeth working in corporate Americarising through the ranks, then bumping their heads on a glass ceiling. Sadly, in their futile efforts to reach the top, many worked so hard at trying to "fit in" and meet the expectations of their bosses and colleagues, that somewhere along the way they lost track of themselves. Many of them are now redefining success by recovering their identities.
Finally, perhaps never is there a greater need for women to redefine success than when the work-family equation is thrown off kilter. The good news is that scores of working mothers are devising waysthrough job sharing, flextime, telecommuting, and even taking a few years offto find serenity and sanity.
As writers and consultants, we have devoted ourselves to chronicling the development of women in the workplace. Six years ago, we published our first book together, More Power to You! This book showed women how to communicate their way to success. Three years later, we wrote Swim with the Dolphins, a book filled with tips and stories showing how female managers could succeedand were succeedingon their own terms.
While crisscrossing the country to give lectures, workshops, and seminars for working women, one dominant concern has emerged: the quest for meaning and balance in one's life. As women have become more and more successful in traditional terms, they have come to question the real meaning of success. This rampant ambivalence is what led us to focus in this book on what is perhaps the most important work-related issue of our time: winning at work without losing at life.
In our research, we have discovered many women who have taken the steps necessary for them to have successful careers without sacrificing family, fun, and a sense of balance and well-being. The number one lesson they've taught us is that success is a very personal thing. We hope that this book will help you define and create a definition of success that fulfills your needs, your goals, and your dreams.
Excerpted from When Money Isn't Enough , by Barbara Steinberg Smalley and Connie Glaser . Copyright (c) 1999 by Barbara Steinberg Smalley and Connie Glaser . Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY. All rights reserved.Back to top